Monday, March 26, 2012

How to eat healthy when dining out: Tips from 5280's Food Editor

Last week I shared my interview with 5280's Food Editor, Amanda Faison. I promised you a second installment from our interview - one exploring the topic of eating healthy at a restaurant.

As you know, The Salted Spoon is a health-minded food blog. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask about healthy tips from the person who's job requires eating out often and indulgently.

Amanda spoke to the need to have balance. When not eating out for work - ordering foie gras and pork belly - she strives for balance by cooking at home.

I don't eat out nearly as much as Amanda does but I too practice the same approach. I've always loved dining out but also balance it with cooking healthy at home.

Another tip Amanda spoke to was ordering vegetarian dishes when eating out. I love this tip! I've often read of tips to make healthy choices in restaurants. But this was a new one to me. And I think it is spot on.

Amanda shared that the veggie option on a menu used to be a 'throwaway' dish. One in which a chef needed to offer but wasn't much more than a grilled portabella mushroom. Nowadays, she shares, the vegetarian dish a chef creates provides insight into the chef's ingenuity. One that can demonstrate the skills and talents of the chef. Amanda is so committed to this philosophy to have balance that she cooks vegetarian at home. This helps her to balance out the high fat and caloric dishes consumed when dining out.

Since we are on the topic, I'd like to add a couple of my own tips on how to stay healthy. I too believe in balance. For me, balance comes in the form of making choices. Specifically, I adopt an "either/or" philosophy when dining out. I either order an appetizer OR dessert. Not both. I also share said appetizer or dessert with my dining companion.

For my entree, I order wisely. One of the easiest ways to do this is to avoid cream sauces and cream-based soups. I also look for dishes that include at least one vegetable. Lastly, I avoid the 'clean plate' club. Taking home leftovers means I have a quick and easy lunch for tomorrow. This is an especially good philosophy for restaurants who tend toward large portion plating.

There you have it ... tips from Food Editor, Amanda Faison, and a few more from myself. On that note, make a reservation at new restaurant and truly enjoy dining out - healthy style.

*Another special thanks to 5280's Amanda Faison for sharing her insights on dining out healthy. It was a pleasure and honor to interview you. Cheers!
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  1. Great tips! I am a fan of vegetarian dishes - if they're innovative. When I was on a cruise, they were so delightful that I ordered vegetarian every night!

    I also like the idea of packing half away for lunch the next day!

    Congratulations on your interview!

  2. Thanks Ann. It was really fun to to do the interview!

  3. This is EXACTLY what I've been needing! Found your blog through Eat Yourself Skinny, and I love it! I have recently fallen out of love with food, seeing it as a punishment instead of the amazing, beautiful thing it is. Your blog is reminding me of all that. Thank you! :)

  4. Torie, I am so glad to read your comment and that your love for food will return with pleasure! Now that is a beautiful thing! :)